Ahmed Yusuf Fresh, the silent football revolutionary . . .

By Daily Sports on November 13, 2017

Views: 7,385

The gallantry exhibited by the Super Eagles against their Algerian counterparts, the Desert Warriors, in the last Group B African qualifying series of the 2018 World Cup in Russia further confirmed that the ticket picked by the 2013 AFCON champs before the rest was not a fluke.

The Gernot Rohr’s lads showed depth, grit and every sense of responsiblity.One is glad to note that CAF has already faulted the judgment of the Gabonese referee on the penalty he awarded the host team, Algeria, which gave them a soft landing. However, it remains a sad commentary that African referees after the shame of officiating by a Ghanaian referee that handled a certain World Cup qualifier between South Africa and Senegal got a life boot for his untidy job, yet, another from Gabon still learnt nothing and forgot nothing hence his unprofessional handling of the game last Friday. We believe his day of reckoning is around the corner. We are keenly waiting for such hammer to fall on the Gabonese.

Fact is that Rohr’s improvement on the team is growing by the day and one hopes that the kind of high spirit in the camp and unity among the boys would continue to be upbeat as the friendly matches that they would be playing starting with the grade A against Argentina aimed at toughening them and how or what their reaction in game (s) against world’s big teams in the World Cup proper would be. Therefore, it is a welcomed gesture from NFF leadership towards an anticipated improved World Cup outing by the young team.

Today, very dear readers we will showcase a very silent football revolutionary from the North Central of the country, precisely, Niger State, Comrade Ahmed Yusuf Fresh. It is widely believed even among his ardent critics that he has done well and enough to bring and create enough awareness on the round leather game in that geo-political zone from the grassroots, which has propelled the youths and young ones to follow sports like religion. What the game is all about is on their finger tips and that is the good and great sermon from Comrade Ahmed Yusuf Fresh, Chairman Niger State FA, Executive Committee member of NFF, Chairman, NFF Technical and Development Committee, Member, CAF Technical and Development Committee etc., whose contributions has received the attention of football bigwigs in the country, continent and the world, making him one beautiful bride and a potent force that can never be wished away in football matters in all ramifications.

I have met him twice. One was in Warri at the NFF congress in 2014 and another was at Agege Stadium, Lagos during this year’s Aiteo Federation Cup. Both were by chance anyway. In the two meetings what quickly caught my attention was his unassuming nature and his intelligent stance. There are other qualities I observed that make him thick and keep him ever green and fresh in the consciousness of football administrators in Africa and the globe. It has made him one character you cannot just wish away if you really want to get your desired result so far this most popular and largest single crowd pulling sport is concerned. He built such strong character for himself and according an executive committee of the NFF who craved his off print, he confided that Yusuf Ahmed Fresh is a trusted ally whose yes is yes and no, no. A faithfully and jolly good fellow whose focal point is to grow this game and wove it solely around the youths and young ones for its continued growth from the grassroots where he vehemently believes as not only the gateway but also holds the master key for the steady development of the world’s most followed sport.          

Daily Sports and by extension, this column have a policy to highlight and promote excellence, diligence, brilliance, foresight and originality among others. And after following the activities of our subject decided to highlight some of them.

From a very humble beginning in a family of butchers, Fresh’s growing influence in the last three years has come from his holding two top posts - the all-powerful referees appointment committee boss and currently the helmsman of  the NFF technical committee. One can further say that his unassuming nature and his intelligence have contributed in no smaller measure for his high profile in the circle of the most sort after and powerful sport in the world.

It is safe to say that the kind of honesty and zeal with which he has conducted himself and also carried out his duties are not hidden but are there for all to see. He is a hard worker of the first order. He likes leaving his footprints on the sands of time in any position he finds himself setting not only the tone but also capping such on high standard and morals too.

His accessibility and willingness to be part of the daily lives of stakeholders, big and small further stand him out from the crowd. Little wonder then the title ‘Sardauna Kwallo’.

But after all said and done, he would need a promoter with a big pocket to hand him a blank cheque should he finally decide to go toe-to-toe with incumbent Amaju Pinnick, a man he has long supported, or Aminu Maigari, the former NFF boss who had previously taken him under his wings and positioned him for what he has become today.

If there were to be a popularity contest in Nigerian football today, Ahmed Yusuf Fresh would certainly take some beating, but as the momentum gathers ahead of next year’s NFF polls the Niger FA Chairman could either be a major king maker or even throw in the hat for the top post.

But does he have the millions to stand up to the others warming up to lead Nigeria football from next year? Despite a highly publicised petition against him, Fresh drew the Who is Who of Nigerian football to the final of his ‘Fresh Football on The Plateau’ Tournament in Jos.

The guests’ list had more than half of the NFF elective congress, four Executive Committee members as well as club owners’ executives led by Danladi Isaac.

“A movement is growing,” exclaimed a stakeholder after coming across photos from the event in which many of the dignitaries were all happily decked in colourful uniforms displaying ‘Fresh’.

Friends of Fresh were at the Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos that memorable day. It is instructive to reveal here that he has said it times without number that his grassroots football programme has no political undertone and would not but say yes as it has been selfless all the way. This report will further vindicate my declaration.

Comrade Ahmed Yusuf Fresh has said that his grassroots football development programme has no political undertone. The NFF board member dropped this hint while speaking to journalists at the Twang Pam Stadium in Jos, during the finals of a youth football tournament organised in his honour by the Plateau State Football Association, Tuesday.

He said whatever he does was in the interest of the round leader game, being the coordinator of football stakeholders in the North Central Zone.

“This is my zone and I feel I should give what I have to the younger ones and get them off the street so that they can have something doing. There is no politics in it, just to discover, harness and nurture talents, that is the aim,” Fresh explained.

He revealed that over 10 FIFA licensed agents were part of the event and that talents discovered will be seen in future adorning the national colours of Nigeria.

The Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) Technical and Development Committee member also ruled out having a Football Academy, saying he is fully an administrator of the round leather game.

He also assured that the programme is an annual event in his honour, disclosing that a replica of the event will come up in November 13 at Maiduguri and also at Nassarawa State by December.

Recognising the key role of facilities in developing the round leather game, especially in the North Central zone, the Vice Chairman of NFF Statutory Committee expressed dissatisfaction about Niger State darling team, Tornadoes, playing home away from home, saying that he was was with the state Governor and intimated him on the need to have a befitting stadium in the state.

He also disclosed that he was with the Plateau State Governor, Solomon Lalong, and informed him that the Rwang Pam Stadium cannot host a continental championship, and that the Governor assured them that the new stadium under construction in the state will be completed before the commencement of Plateau United continental engagement.

On Super Eagles World Cup qualifier match against the Chipolopolo of Zambia, the NFF Technical and Development Committee member assured that they will give the Coach and every member of the team the needed support to succeed, adding that his committee will vet the list of players submitted by the Coach and give him the go ahead.

The event, Comrade Ahmed Yusuf Fresh Football Competition on the Plateau was well attended by the who is who in Nigeria football, with over 20 State FA Chairmen, members of the Nigeria Coaches Association led by Coach Isah Ladan Bosso, Nigeria players union led by Dahiru Sadi, Club owners led by Isaac Danladi, Nationwide League One led by Mohammed Alkali and a host of other football stakeholders.

The finals which was decided between Wayforward Football Academy and Sauki Oil and Gas FC, saw Wayforward Academy winning the championship via penalties as both teams played a one all draw at regulation time. The third place match was won by Flying Arrows of Jos, after beating their opponents, De Blessed Academy by 2-1. About 39 teams across the state participated in the tournament

CAF, through its official website confirmed the reappointment of Comrade Ahmed Yusuf Fresh for the third consecutive time, as a member of its Technical and Development Committee. Responding to the good news after receiving the official mail from CAF, Fresh attributed it to God's plans for his life.

“First I would like to appreciate Almighty Allah for yet another opportunity as a member of the new CAF standing committees under the leadership of Ahmad Ahmad for the third consecutive time in administering the game, I am convinced that Allah plans are manifesting in my life in different ways. 

“Let me thank NFF President, Amaju Pinnick who is equally a member of CAF Executive Committee for believing in me and forwarding my name as one of the nominees during CAF Executive Meeting, not forgetting members of the Executive Committee, and congress members of the NFF,”' Sarduana Kwallow Kafa Najeriya as he is fondly called said in a joyful mood. Let me confess that Fresh is the reason why football is everywhere in Niger State as he rightly admitted in this report below:

“The chairman of Niger State Football Association and Member of NFF Executive Committee, Comrade Yusuf Ahmed Fresh has said his passion for football development at the grassroots has taken the game to the nooks and crannies of the state.

“Speaking to Daily Trust on Saturday, the football administrator said the future of football in Nigeria is at the grassroots so youths in the state are provided with numerous competitions for them to exhibit their talents.

“He said before he became the chairman of Niger State FA in 2004, there were only two football clubs in the state but at the moment there are over 16 clubs in Nationwide and National League from Niger State.

“Fresh explained that with different football competitions beginning from the local councils, the youths in the state are positively engaged. ‘We have different categories of tournaments in Niger State be it at club, local councils or national levels. When I came on board as chairman, we had only two clubs, Niger Tornadoes and Bida United. But today we have over 16 clubs competing in the Nationwide and National League. Our emphasis is on catching them young. So we do organise series of competitions like the Governor’s Cup which is the apex competition, the Speaker’s Cup for U-17 and Deputy Governor’s Cup known as Peace Cup for U21s. It is also interesting to know that even local councils organise their own football competitions with the state FA giving them moral and financial support. With all these football in Niger State is developing like wild fire and the state will soon become the Mecca of football in Nigeria’.

“Fresh therefore compared football in his state to what obtains in other states like Lagos and Kano where there are hundreds of grassroots football clubs.

“He reiterated that Lagos, Kano and Niger states are in the lead as far as grassroots football development in Nigeria is concerned. ‘We are getting it right because we have a football association made up of members who are people of proven integrity, people who have the time and passion to develop the game in the state’.

“According to him, he confidently pointed out that Niger has finally caught up with Lagos and Kano States in terms of grassroots football development.”

Honour must be given to whom it is due without any prejudice. The cap fits him in this context and it is why Daily Sports through its column, Sports Pulse, has so graciously done this week and in not a distance future you will read more and more caps on this wonderful comrade and patriot.

Join our teeming followers on these platforms, Twitter, Linkedin, WhatsAPP and Facebook to discuss this enigma of our football. Lest we forget, he is not one for noise making or publicity rather he belongs to the very few class of Nigerians nowadays that believe that their works speak volumes for them. A great thinker and smooth operator whose word is work, one who works hard to earn his reputation and living.

Keep shooting hard, till next week!!

Source Daily Sports

Posted November 13, 2017

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